Session 7 - Content Creation and Working with Authors

@may20-cohort, we’re continuing with our sessions on creation with tomorrow’s session on Content Creation and Working with Authors. We’ll meet as usual on Zoom at 3:30pm ET and discuss some of the conventional elements in a textbook plus how to set your authors up for smooth sailing.

We will be referring to the following:

  1. Handout: Content Creation and Working with Authors
  2. Slides: Content Creation and Working with Authors

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow! If you have any feedback to share after my request last week, please feel free to mention it during our updates tomorrow or post it here in the cohort discussion space.

@may20-cohort thanks for the discussion at our session this week. We’ll pick up on the final section on authoring considerations at our next session. For now, take a look at some of the questions that were raised, resources shared, and a recap.

Questions & Discussion

  1. @wernerwestermannj asked us to consider how pedagogical models can connect with the textbook structural elements we saw in the Open Textbook Network model. Are there templates we can identify or create (as you apply these elements to your projects)? I’ll do some more digging on this and report back to the group!
  2. @poritzj wondered whether there is data that indicates how structural textbooks with certain elements can improve or impact learners. @jenny.piazza — you indicated that you were aware of some studies, so in good time, we’d love to see these!
  3. @denise.henry shared her insights from an instructional design perspective on textbook elements. Content creation is about looking at the subject matter, the learning objectives, the learners, and teaching models!

Chat Transcript and Resources

Take a look at the conversation in the chat transcript. See the list of resources shared:

Lesson Recap

Content creation is one of the most important stages in the process, as this is where subject-matter experts put together the bulk of the resource. Regardless of whether you are a solo author or working in a team, the work you do in this phase can make the next phases of editing, review, and formatting much easier. Organization will be easier if you’re a solo author, but you will want to explicitly solicit feedback or review comments to bring other perspectives to the mix. Conversely, small and large teams will have a varied mix but may require more management to keep everyone on schedule. Documentation, templates, agreements and clear workflows will help keep things consistent across different sections of the book (look at what we suggest you prepare in the slides). It’s worth noting that with a large team of authors, you may not need the voice to be identical throughout. Ultimately, what you have is a collaboratively authored resource, full of interesting, original, diverse perspectives, and that can be very important to highlight!

Providing your authors with a clear structure or pattern for their sections can help ensure some uniformity throughout the book. Keep in mind that the body of the book is where the bulk of the content will be added; frontmatter and backmatter sections can be added in later phases to round out the resource. Get started by running through your Table of Contents with the authoring team and identify areas of overlap. This process can determine when concepts will be introduced, making it easier to construct each section. Before writing, decide exactly how elements will be laid out in the section, using the pattern of openers, body of the section (with multiple integrated pedagogical devices), and closers (take a look at the Open Textbook Network’s list of each). Compare this layout with traditional textbooks, work with instructional designers, and test it out visually in a model chapter on your publishing platform. With all this set, you are ready to begin writing!

While there are a lot of articles about different pedagogical or instructional design models and their connection with OER, I couldn’t come across an explicit template that sets out what we’ve discussed. If others have had better luck with your research, please let me know. :slight_smile: This proves how useful it will be if all of you could share the templates for your own books once created for others to follow from!